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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Anguttara Nikaya >> Freed of Fivefold Fear

AN 9:5 Freed of Fivefold Fear

Translated from the Pali by Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi


There are, O monks, four powers. What four? The power of wisdom, the power of energy, the power of an unblemished life and the power of beneficence.

And what, monks, is the power of wisdom? As to those things which are unwholesome and are held to be unwholesome, those things which are wholesome and are held to be wholesome; blameless and blameworthy, and held to be so; dark and bright, and held to be so; fit or unfit to be practised, and held to be so; worthy and unworthy of noble ones, and held to be so—to see all these things clearly and to consider them well, this is called the power of wisdom.

And what, monks, is the power of energy? As to those things that are unwholesome, blameworthy, dark, unfit to be practised, unworthy of noble ones, and which are held to be so—to generate desire, to make an effort and stir up one’s energy for abandoning all these things; and as to those things that are wholesome, blameless, bright, fit to be practised, worthy of noble ones, and which are held to be so—to generate desire, to make an effort and stir up one’s energy for gaining all these things, this is called the power of energy.

And what, monks, is the power of an unblemished life? Here, monks, a noble disciple is unblemished in his deeds, unblemished in his words, unblemished in his thoughts. This is called the power of an unblemished life.

And what, monks, is the power of beneficence? There are four bases of beneficence: by gifts, by friendly speech, by helpful acts and by bestowal of equity. This is the best of gifts: the gift of Dhamma. And this is the best of friendly speech: to teach the Dhamma again and again to those who wish for it and who listen attentively. And this is the best of helpful acts: to arouse, instil and strengthen faith in the unbeliever; to arouse, instil, and strengthen virtue in the immoral; to arouse, instil and strengthen generosity in the miser; to arouse, instil, and strengthen wisdom in the ignorant. And this is the best bestowal of equity: if a stream-enterer becomes equal to a stream-enterer; a once-returner equal to a once-returner; a non-returner equal to a non-returner; and an arahat equal to an arahat. This, monks, is called the power of beneficence.

And this concludes the four powers.

Now, monks, a noble disciple endowed with these four powers has left behind five fears: the fear for his livelihood, the fear of disrepute, the fear of embarrassment in assemblies, the fear of death and the fear of an unhappy future destiny.

A noble disciple thus endowed will think: “No fear do I have for my livelihood. Why should I have fear about it? Have I not the four powers of wisdom, energy, unblemished life and beneficence? It is one who is foolish and lazy, of blameworthy conduct in deeds, words, and thoughts, and who has no beneficence—such a one might have fear for his livelihood.

“No fear do I have about disrepute or about embarrassment in assemblies; nor have I fear of death or of an unhappy future destiny. Why should I have these fears? Have I not the four powers of wisdom, energy, unblemished life, and beneficence? It is one who is foolish and lazy, of blameworthy conduct in deeds, words, and thoughts, and who has no beneficence—such a one might have all these fears.”

Thus it should be understood, monks, that a noble disciple endowed with the four powers has left behind five fears.

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